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Buying Home Appliances - Should You Consider Color or Go Neutral?

Are Colored Appliances Right for Your Kitchen?

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White Range Photo © Mifflin
Some of us will remember the Harvest Gold and Avocado Green appliances of some 30 years ago and in fact, there are a few of these still in service. In those days, the word long-term meant just that! That those brightly colored appliances would be in our homes a very, very long time, to the dismay of many who quickly tired of the dated colors.

It has yet to be seen if today's appliances will live up to the lifespans of decades-old models. But given the high cost of home appliances these days, even with a shorter life cycle, we still consider these appliance purchases to be long term investments. With this in mind, should we choose colored appliances or stick with the more neutral white, black or stainless finishes? The answer lies in your appliance buying strategy and decor tastes. Here's a few tips when you're trying to decide on color versus neutral.

Buying a Replacement Appliance:

If you're buying a replacement appliance, you should choose a color or finish that matches or blends comfortably with the other existing appliances in the same room, unless of course, you plan on also changing the remaining appliances soon. If this is your plan, keep in mind that availability of particular colors and finishes can be short lived and you'll want to complete the set while you can.

Color vs Neutral Finishes:

If you like to follow trends, buy what's new and can afford to replace your large appliances often, then choosing trendy appliance colors or finishes may be great for you. While colored appliances do give a kitchen an updated cheery look, they may not be right for everyone.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to appliance colors:
  • Color dates appliances and can quickly give your kitchen an outdated style. Whereas white, black or stainless appliances are not as easy to date. It's great to have a trendy kitchen, but over time, you'll want your appliances to age without notice.
  • When one of an appliance pair needs replacing and that color is no longer available, you'll have to settle for mismatched appliances or also replace the companion appliance.
  • If you've decided on a particular color, is it a color you can live it, for 5 - 10 years or more?
  • Does the color blend with other long-term colors in your kitchen, such as flooring, countertop and tiling.
  • The darker the color, the more noticeable scratches, dents and fingerprints are.
  • White is somewhat ageless and more economical.
  • You'll tire less quickly of subtle colors rather bold ones.
  • Colored appliances are generally more expensive than white or variations of beige or cream.
  • Do you consider this your last appliance purchase? A good reason to go with neutral.
What About Black Appliances:

Black is not as neutral as white, but it does have something going for it - it blends very well with stainless, is trendy yet harder to date than color. However, black is difficult to keep clean and requires more maintenance. It also shows up scratches more than lighter colors or white.

How About Stainless Finishes:

I tend to consider stainless finish to be neutral since it very easily will blend with black appliances and existing room colors, and is difficult to date. A stainless dishwasher will easily blend with other neutral appliances. However, stainless steel appliances are more expensive and their prices are influenced by the quality of the finish.

You'll not tire as easily of stainless, unless the finish you choose is difficult to keep clean. It does require more maintenance to keep fingerprints in check, and you'll need a stainless steel appliance cleaner. Small dents and scratches may be more noticeable with stainless finishes.

Planning on Moving Soon?

If you're planning on selling or renting your home in the near future, you may want to consider neutral finishes which appeal to more people. Certain finishes such as stainless or platinum can give your kitchen a professional styling which could be a great selling feature.

If you're replacing appliances merely to increase the resale potential, keep in mind that appliance features are just as important as good looks.

When You Want a Full Custom Look

If a customized, hidden-appliance look is what you're after, some cabinet manufacturers offer custom-sized finished cabinet panels that virtually hide refrigerators within the cabinetry. These are generally more expensive but are a great enhancement and selling feature. You'll need to check with your cabinet manufacturer for availability and installation requirements.

When Not to Buy Colored Appliances

I would not consider colored appliances for rental units since the color may not blend well with a renters accessories, and replacing the other appliance later to match, may be too difficult. White would be more practical in this case.

Read More About Appliances

Appliance Buying Tips Index
Laundry Appliances Tips & Resources
Large Appliances Resources
A Whole Lot of Glimmer
Old Appliances Donation & Disposal Options
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